“The January 2014 Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority does not include data from Region 8. For this survey round, the PSA calculated the January 2013 employment indicators using data that excluded the region to make them comparable with the January 2014 LFS.

“The result of the survey is mixed. The employment level in the January 2014 survey round is 36.420 million, equivalent to 92.5 percent of the labor force of 39.389 million, which increased by 476,000 (1.2 percent) from the January 2013 labor force of 38.137 million.

“The increase in employment is 0.8 percent, or 283,000, from 36.137 million in January 2013 to 36.420 in January 2014.

“Beyond the quantity, however, we want more to focus on the quality of employment.

“Since July 2012, when the employment structure seemed to exhibit a palpable shift, we have been monitoring the quality of employment and are pleased that it is being sustained as indicated by labor and employment indicators, such as, for example, the number of wage and salary workers, which increased in four years: 2010 (19.626 million); 2011 (20.538 million); 2012 (21.492 million); and 2013 (22.136 million).

“The growth in the employment level in the industry sector, which added 105,000 employed persons to the January 2013 level of 5.674 million, is also being sustained, particularly in construction (+139,000), and manufacturing ((+13,000), where more permanent, secure, and quality jobs are generated. In four years, employment in industry grew: 2010 (5.399 million); 2011 (5.530 million); 2012 (5.743 million); and  2013 (5.917 million). We see that a robust industry sector is the key to sustained employment growth.

“In the services sector, which added 18,000 more employed Filipinos during the period, we note that administrative and support service activities, to where the business process outsourcing-business process management sub-sector (BPO-BPM) belongs, continue to exhibit employment growth. Employment in this sub-sector grew by 97,000, or 10.3 percent, consistently the highest among the services.

“There is also a sustained decline in vulnerable employment, a Millennium Development Goal indicator. While the number of self-employed and unpaid family workers in proportion to the total employed persons slightly increased by 3.3 percentage points from 35.8 to 39.1 percent, it remains well below the 40 percent level, which has been sustained since 2012.

“Also, in the January 2014 LFS, the decrease by 393,000 in the number of employed laborers and unskilled workers–who make up a large segment of the under-employed–is a bright note in our efforts to increase protection and reduce vulnerability.

“In this survey, underemployment fell by 1.2 percentage points, from 20.7 percent in January 2013 to 19.5 percent in January 2014, lower than the 2012 baseline figure of 20 percent of the updated Philippine Development Plan. There are 7.101 million underemployed Filipinos in January 2014 compared to 7.464 million in January 2013.

“Among the regions, the National Capital Region registered a marked increase in unemployment at 11.2 percent, up by 1.7 percent, or 95,000 from the January 2013 figure. Inversely, it registered the lowest level of employment at 88.9 percent, or 4.577 million, during the survey round, a decrease of 69,000 from the January 2013 employment level of 4.646 million. It should be noted, however, that under-employment in the NCR declined by 71,000, from 623,000 to 552,000.

“According to the NEDA, even with high economic growth, it is not unusual for employment and unemployment to be volatile, as shown by the experience of other emerging economies. As the economy grows and its structure experience transformation, optimism among the working age population results to more people becoming available and looking for work.

“In the case of the NCR, it being the center of commerce and industry, job seekers tend to flock and converge to the capital, competing with thousands of others for available employment.”

END

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